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Summary "Action Theory" as it is used here is the sub-area in the philosophy of action/agency that is concerned chiefly with the foundations of the broader sub-discipline. Central problems include the nature and scope of intentional action and agency, the explanation of action, and our knowledge of our actions. Most of the other problems that fall within the scope of this category at PhilPapers are closely related to such foundational questions.
Key works [BROKEN REFERENCE: DORRAC-2w]#DORRAC-2Perhaps the two most influential works that have shaped the current state of action theory are Anscombe 1957 and Davidson 1963. Davidson's essay is the locus classicus for the causal theory of action and for causalism about reason-explanations of actions. Anscombe's book has been influential among proponents of non-causal theories of action and reason-explanation. For a classic defense of the agent-causal perspective, see Chisholm 1966. And for a volitionist perspective, see McCann 1974. Some collections of essays that may help readers get a sense of the major debates in action theory today include Mele 1997, Aguilar & Buckareff 2010, Aguilar & Buckareff 2009, and D'Oro & Sandis 2013.
Introductions The following are good places to start to for those looking for guides to the current state of the art in action theory. Mele 2005 Mele 1992 Wilson 2008
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  1. Forrest E. Baird (1992). Human Thought and Action. Upa.
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  2. Patrick K. Bastable (1971). The Nature of Intention. Philosophical Studies 20:338-338.
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  3. Monroe C. Beardsley (1975). Actions and Events: The Problem of Individuation. American Philosophical Quarterly 12 (4):263 - 276.
    For the events "e" and "f" to be identical, They must have the same subject and spatio-Temporal location, And their (participial) property-Descriptions must belong to the same "modification set" (e.G., Reddening, Reddening slowly, Reddening in july). The same criterion applies to actions, Which are here treated strictly as a proper subclass of events (john's closing the door = the door's being closed by john = the door's becoming closed). Actions related by goldman's "causal generation" are therefore distinct, But those related (...)
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  4. J. Bishop (2001). McCANN, HJ-The Works of Agency. Philosophical Books 42 (3):232-232.
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  5. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (2009). How We Recognize Our Own Actions. In Nancey Murphy, George Ellis, O. ’Connor F. R. & Timothy (eds.), Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will. Springer Verlag. 145--151.
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  6. Jean Beer Blumenfeld (1981). Action and Intention. Philosophia 9 (3-4):299-315.
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  7. S. J. Boey (2013). De dubbele oorspronkelijkheid Van blondels “action”. Bijdragen 24 (2):130-153.
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  8. John F. Boler (1968). Agency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 29 (2):165-181.
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  9. G. Planty Bonjour (1986). Les implications théologiques de "L'action". Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 4:435-448.
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  10. George Boys-Stones (1996). The Epsilonpiepsilonlambdaepsilonupsilonsigmatauiotakappaeta Deltaupsilonnualphamuiotasigma in Aristos Psychology of Action. Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 41 (1):75-94.
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  11. Myles Brand (1970). Causes of Actions. Journal of Philosophy 67 (21):932-947.
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  12. Johannes L. Brandl, Marian David & Leopold Stubenberg (2001). Agents and Their Actions. Rodopi.
    IntroductionE.J. LOWE: Event Causation and Agent CausationRalf STOECKER: Agents in ActionGeert KEIL: How Do We Ever Get Up? On the Proximate Causation of Actions and EventsMaria ALVAREZ: Letting Happen, Omissions, and CausationFrederick STOUTLAND: Responsive Action and the Belief-Desire ModelMarco IORIO: How Are Agents Related to Their Actions? The Existentialist ResponseJens KULENKAMPFF: What Oedipus Did When He Married Jocasta or What Ancient Tragedy Tells Us About Agents, Their Actions, and the WorldRüdiger BITTNER: Agents as RulersMonika BETZLER: How Can an Agent Rationally (...)
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  13. Michael Bratman (1987). Intention and Evaluation. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1):185-189.
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  14. Bill Brewer (1993). Introduction: Action. In Naomi M. Eilan (ed.), Spatial Representation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
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  15. Daphna Buchsbaum, Thomas L. Griffiths, Alison Gopnik & Dare Baldwin (2009). Learning From Actions and Their Consequences: Inferring Causal Variables From Continuous Sequences of Human Action. In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. 134.
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  16. Thomas W. Busch (1976). "De L'Historicite À L'Action," by Robert H. Cousineau. Modern Schoolman 53 (3):292-295.
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  17. J. B. C. & Joe Friggieri (1993). Actions and Speech Actions in the Philosophy of J. L. Austin. Philosophical Quarterly 43 (170):122.
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  18. Davide P. Cargnello (2014). Beyond Morality: Intentional Action in Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Mind 123 (491):671-706.
    The paper discusses Hegel’s conception of intentional action. Drawing principally on Hegel’s analysis of the determinations and rights of action in the Morality chapter of the Philosophy of Right, I suggest that Hegel is committed to a corrigibilist view of action, according to which intentions are definitive of action, objective, and publicly accessible, in principle, via ex post facto corrective interpretation. I conclude by commenting briefly on the place of Hegel’s conception of action in the broader action-theoretic landscape.
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  19. David Carr (2001). Place and Time: On the Interplay of Historical Points of View. History and Theory 40 (4):153–167.
    A historians account of a past action must take into account the agent's point of view, and that point of view may differ radically from that of the historian. This difference of points of view, I argue may extend to the very place and time of the action in question. In this paper, by exploring the spatial and temporal aspects of action, agency, and description of past action, I try to describe the interplay of points of view between historian and (...)
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  20. Martin Carrier (2004). Knowledge and Control. In Peter K. Machamer & Gereon Wolters (eds.), Science, Values, and Objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press. 275.
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  21. John W. Carroll (1987). Intending and Blameworthiness. Philosophia 17 (4):393-409.
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  22. Julia Cassaniti (2012). Agency and the Other: The Role of Agency for the Importance of Belief in Buddhist and Christian Traditions. Ethos 40 (3):297-316.
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  23. Peter Cataldo (1985). Actions. New Scholasticism 59 (2):244-245.
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  24. V. Cernik (1998). Hegel's Practical Idea and the Action Judgement. Filozofia 53 (8):483-500.
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  25. David K. Chan (1995). Non-Intentional Actions. American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (2):139 - 151.
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  26. M. Chapman & E. A. Skinner (1985). Action in Development—Development in Action. In Michael Frese & John Sabini (eds.), Goal Directed Behavior: The Concept of Action in Psychology. L. Erlbaum Associates. 200--213.
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  27. Taylor Charles (1999). Human Agency and Language. Philosophical Papers 1.
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  28. Wan Har Chong (2006). Personal Agency Beliefs in Self-Regulation: The Exercise of Personal Responsibility, Choice and Control in Learning. Marshall Cavendish Academic.
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  29. Damir Čičić (2011). The Conflicting Aspects of Hugh McCann's Theory of Action. Filozofia 66 (9):918.
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  30. Philip Clark (2001). The Action as Conclusion. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):481-505.
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  31. Michael Cohen (1977). Action Theory. Philosophical Books 18 (3):115-117.
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  32. Michael Cohen (1969). The Same Action. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 70:75 - 90.
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  33. W. John Coletta (1991). The Signing Action of Nature. Semiotics:351-354.
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  34. W. John Coletta (1991). The Signing Action of Nature. Semiotics:351-354.
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  35. W. John Coletta (1991). The Signing Action of Nature. Semiotics:351-354.
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  36. Juan Comesaña (2009). Comments on Carl Ginet's “Self-Evidence”. Veritas 54 (2):41-47.
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  37. John M. Connolly (1976). A Dialectical Approach to Action Theory. Inquiry 19 (1-4):427 – 442.
    Recent work in the theory of action by analytical philosophers has focused on explaining actions by citing the agent's motivating reason(s). But this ignores a pattern of explanation typical in the social sciences, i.e. situating the agent in a reference group whose members typically manifest that behavior. In some cases the behavior of such groups can itself be shown to be the product of social forces. Two extended examples of this explanatory pattern are studied. In each case the motivating reasons (...)
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  38. Thomas D. Connor (2014). Self-Control, Willpower and the Problem of Diminished Motivation. Philosophical Studies 168 (3):783-796.
    Self-control has been described as the ability to master motivation that is contrary to one’s better judgement; that is, an ability that prevents such motivation from resulting in behaviour that is contrary to one’s overall better judgement (Mele, Irrationality: An essay on Akrasia, self-deception and self-control, p. 54, 1987). Recent discussions in philosophy have centred on the question of whether synchronic self-control, in which one exercises self-control whilst one is currently experiencing opposing motivation, is actional or non-actional. The actional theorist (...)
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  39. David Copp (1979). Collective Actions and Secondary Actions. American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (3):177 - 186.
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  40. Anne Marie Costalat-Founeau (1999). Identity Dynamics, Action and Context. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 29 (3):289–300.
    The aim of this article is to present an investigation of the action-representation relationship, via the processes which arise from the effects of one’s action and the effects of one’s capacity . These effects are, in our view, of major importance, for they link social legitimation and the personal skill necessary for the preparation and carrying out of action. We look at this complex relationship, and propose a model, the capacity model, which situates action as an executory regulator of representation, (...)
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  41. J. Cottingham (2006). Review: The Will and Human Action From Antiquity to the Present Day. [REVIEW] Mind 115 (459):793-796.
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  42. George L. Cowgill (2000). Rationality” and Contexts in Agency Theory. In Marcia-Anne Dobres & John E. Robb (eds.), Agency in Archaeology. Routledge. 51--60.
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  43. C. B. Daly (1960). Thought and Action. Philosophical Studies 10 (10):224-239.
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  44. C. B. Daly (1960). Thought and Action. Philosophical Studies 10 (10):224-239.
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  45. Satyanarayana Dasa & Jonathan B. Edelmann (2014). Agency in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Tradition. In Matthew R. Dasti & Edwin F. Bryant (eds.), Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 279.
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  46. Brian Davies (2010). The Action of God. In John Cottingham & Peter Hacker (eds.), Mind, Method, and Morality: Essays in Honour of Anthony Kenny. Oup Oxford.
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  47. L. H. Davis (1991). On Action by Carl Ginet. Mind 100:390-394.
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  48. Philip E. Davis (1962). Action" and "Cause of Action. Mind 71 (281):93-95.
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  49. Giovanni De Grandis (2002). John R. Searle, Rationality in Action. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6:370-374.
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  50. Donald G. Doehring (1957). Conditioning of Muscle Action Potential Responses Resulting From Passive Hand Movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology 54 (4):292.
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